On the derivation of coseismic displacement fields using differential radar interferometry: The Landers earthquake


  • Howard A. Zebker,

  • Paul A. Rosen,

  • Richard M. Goldstein,

  • Andrew Gabriel,

  • Charles L. Werner


We present a map of the coseismic displacement field resulting from the Landers, California, June 28, 1992, earthquake derived using data acquired from an orbiting high-resolution radar system. We achieve results more accurate than previous space studies and similar in accuracy to those obtained by conventional field survey techniques. Data from the ERS 1 synthetic aperture radar instrument acquired in April, July, and August 1992 are used to generate a high-resolution, wide area map of the displacements. The data represent the motion in the direction of the radar line of sight to centimeter level precision of each 30-m resolution element in a 113 km by 90 km image. Our coseismic displacement contour map gives a lobed pattern consistent with theoretical models of the displacement field from the earthquake. Fine structure observed as displacement tiling in regions several kilometers from the fault appears to be the result of local surface fracturing. Comparison of these data with Global Positioning System and electronic distance measurement survey data yield a correlation of 0.96; thus the radar measurements are a means to extend the point measurements acquired by traditional techniques to an area map format. The technique we use is (1) more automatic, (2) more precise, and (3) better validated than previous similar applications of differential radar interferometry. Since we require only remotely sensed satellite data with no additional requirements for ancillary information, the technique is well suited for global seismic monitoring and analysis.